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Chang'e-1 enters lunar orbit
Posted: Mon, Nov 5, 2007, 2:03 PM ET (1903 GMT)
Chang'e-1 illustration (CNSA) Chang'e-1, China's first lunar mission, has entered orbit around the Moon, officials announced Monday. A thruster burn by the spacecraft Monday put the spacecraft into an elliptical orbit, ranging from 200 to 8,600 km above the lunar surface. Two additional thruster firings this week will put the spacecraft into a circular 200-km polar orbit. The spacecraft, launched October 24th, has gradually extended its transfer orbit around the Earth until a maneuver on October 31 put the spacecraft onto a translunar trajectory. the spacecraft is designed to operate for at least one year, returning images and other data about the Moon. Chang'e-1 is China's first mission beyond Earth orbit, and the first in a series of robotic lunar missions of increasing complexity planned for the next decade.
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